Archive for August, 2009

Ed Palermo Big Band @ Southpaw (feat. Napoleon Murphy Brock)

southpawposter

If you are a fan of Ed Palermo‘s arrangements of Frank Zappa‘s compositions, and if you are in the New York area on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, join Ed Palermo and his special guest, Napoleon Murphy Brock (on vocals and sax) at the Southpaw.
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Zappa & Beefheart, Radio KWST, 1975

To promote the only album they ever made together – Bongo FuryCaptain Beefheart and Frank Zappa put together a promotional documentary of their musical lives and times. It contained some obscure material, early collaborations, demos, proto and live versions, as well as official releases. It was broadcast by KWST and other radio stations in the US, on October 1st, 1975 (the day before the official release of their album), and quickly became fodder for bootlegs.
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The Case Of The Zappa Family Trust

Paul Carr has written an excellent paper on the clash between the ZFT and tribute bands. Looking at both conflicting points of view in depth, he comes to this conclusion:

How would Zappa himself have learnt his trade if his heroes Varèse and Stravinsky had asked him to stop appropriating their music into the popular music canon? How can musical ability and indeed our culture grow if we are not allowed to experience from the inside what the great masters have already achieved? Zappa was outspoken about this very process, as typified by the Central Scrutinizer character in Joe’s Garage. This album features the voice of Ike Willis as the voice of ‘Joe’, in a rock opera about the dangers of political systems that are ironically and alarmingly similar to those adopted by the ZFT. According to Miles, Zappa’s coverage of the suppression of freedom of speech in music was inspired in part by the Islamic revolution that had made music illegal within its jurisdiction at the time and this is something he continued in his much publicized confrontation with the Parents Music Resource Centre. It seems that the ZFT are attempting to implement precisely the type of restrictions that Zappa despised, and in doing so conflicting with his legacy. As discussed at the start of this paper, Zappa himself liberally incorporated the music of his heroes such as Ives, Stravinsky and Varèse in particular into his creative idiolect, and to restrict musicians and the public’s access to music goes against the impetus of the post modern culture we live in.

Note: I’m not posting this as flame bait — I just think it’s a really well thought through essay. Give it a read and decide for yourself.

Napoleon: This Is What Frank Zappa Heard – Just In Case You Were Wondering

News from the Idiot Bastard, that might bring some tiny smile on your face:

…in December, Napoleon Murphy Brock will release This Is What Frank Zappa Heard – Just In Case You Were Wondering. Recorded live at The Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii on 8 August 1973 on a TEAC 4-track reel-to-reel, the CD has been digitally enhanced and “will put you at the next table to where Frank was sitting, and you will experience what Frank Zappa experienced and what later was described as ‘the audition of a lifetime’”. By pre-ordering now, you can save yourself shipping charges, so you’ll pay just 15 Euros on its release. Email nmubrock@pacbell.net for more.

Of course you know this beautiful interview already in which Nappy tells the whole story (Idiot Bastard, again, from 2002).

Get Yer Persuasions!

Got an email yesterday from Julie Lawson, whose husband is Jerry Lawson, former lead singer, arranger & producer of The Persuasions. She writes:

We wanted to let your readers know that the Persuasions tribute to Zappa is out of print & we have the last of them if anyone is interested. They are only $15 & bound to be a collector’s item if you care to let your readers know.

Get your copy here, while they last.

Thing-Fish Live: Highlights

In 2003 Stagecraft Entertainment managed to stage an authorized (!) adaptation of Thing-Fish. Here’s, quote: “a very roughly edited selection of scenes of the unforthcoming DVD release”:

Takes me back to the weekend of my 35th birthday, when Tommi presented us with a full screening of this performance! Good times…

Musicians Play FZ – Part II

Alas, I’ve saved the best for last. “Musicians Play FZ – Part II“, a compilation of FZ songs performed by various musicians, from Sting to The Persuasions and many in between (plucked from my own collection). Enjoy this mix for the next two weeks, at which time the “Son of Tweezer Glint” series will resume.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Note: if we are infringing on anyone’s copyright, contact KUR and we’ll remove the offending material.

Tom Fowler Interview, Los Angeles, 1996

Interviewed by Juha Rompannen, in Los Angeles on April 24th, 1996, Tom Fowler — who played bass guitar in Frank Zappa’s touring and recording band between 1973 and 1975 — talks about his background, time with Frank, other collaborations, and current projects in this 5 part interview:
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The Circle Of Fifths

There is a reason why Barber Shop / Doowop singers shy away from instrumental accompaniment:

A little thought will show why no sequence of Perfect Fifths can ever exactly equal a sequence of Octaves, no matter how far you carry out both sequences: when you go up by Octaves, you’re multiplying the starting pitch by a 2 raised to a power equal to the number of Octaves. Going up one octave means multiplying by 2¹ = 2. Two octaves = starting pitch × 2² (= 4×), three octaves = starting pitch × 2³ (= 8×), and so on. But going up by Perfect Fifths (or, rather, Octave + Perfect Fifths) means raising powers of three. × 3¹ = 3× and takes you to the Octave + Perfect Fifth. × 3² = 9× and takes you to two octaves + Pythagorean Major Second (or one octave + Pythagorean Major Ninth, if you prefer). × 3³ = 27× and takes you up to three octaves + Pythagorean Major Sixth, and so on.

Notice something? The multipliers for Octaves are always even numbers (2×, 4×, 8×, 16×, …), while those for Perfect Fifths are always odd numbers (3×, 9×, 27×m etc.). No matter how far you carry out the sequences, you’ll never have an odd number equal an even number!

This means that the Circle of Fifths, the very basis for all of Western Civilization music, just plain doesn’t work!

Bonus clips:

For more, be sure to read this MeFi thread.

Philly Cheez

This just in by way of Andrew:

In a very recent interview, Dweezil said a live FZ concert circa 1976 will be released soon featuring Terry Bozzio and “a female singer”. Word is, Vaulternative will issue a CD of the Spectrum Theater in Philadelphia show from 29 October that year. Band was FZ, Bozzio, Ray White, Patrick O’Hearn, Eddie Jobson and Bianca Thornton.

Set list was:

  1. Purple Lagoon intro
  2. Stink-Foot
  3. Poodle Lecture
  4. Dirty Love
  5. Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station
  6. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin
  7. The Torture Never Stops
  8. City Of Tiny Lites (incl. The Sanzini Brothers Pyramid Trick)
  9. You Didn’t Try To Call Me
  10. Manx Needs Women
  11. Titties ‘N’ Beer
  12. Black Napkins
  13. Advance Romance
  14. Honey, Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?
  15. Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink
  16. Would You Go All The Way?
  17. Daddy Daddy Daddy
  18. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?
  19. Dinah-Moe Humm
  20. Purple Lagoon reprise
  21. Stranded In The Jungle
  22. Find Her Finer
  23. Camarillo Brillo
  24. Muffin Man
  25. Purple Lagoon outro.

No word on the 40th anniversary edition of Cruisin’ With Ruben yet.